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Submitted on
December 21, 2009


3,457 (3 today)
12 (who?)
People ask me this all the time. How do I get such dark backgrounds on my drawings. The answer is complex, so I will step it out below.

1) The paper you use MATTERS! I use only Bristol, which is 2 or 3 times thicker than drawing paper, so it has a strong tooth to the paper
2) I use either B or 2B. The softer you go (3B-9B) the more wax is in the graphite, which makes it like a crayon and hard to blend.
3) I KEEP the pencil SHARP, and I hold it SIDEWAYS.
4) I do small sections at a time
5) I TURN the pencil in my fingers as I darken the area. This also helps keep the pencil sharp.
6) I use a back and forth scraping motion, that I can FEEL dig into the paper.
7) I end up going back over it more than once before finished, in a different direction.
8) I LATER use a harder pencil (H, F) and go over the dark area again
9) I use a "workable spray fixative" made by Krylon which reduces glare
10) I never use a flash on the camera when taking the photo of it
11) I ONLY take the photo during the daytime, under natural light, by laying it on the carpet near a window.
12) I NEVER use a software program to darken the photo of the drawing

I hope this helps?
  • Listening to: Andrew Belle
  • Eating: Port wine Cheese and Triscuts
  • Drinking: Starbucks French Roast Coffee
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BrokenViolet Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2009  Student Traditional Artist
well that's helpful! and it's almost the same way I do to have dark background or dark areas!
that makes me proud! lol

thanks for sharing :heart:
Doctor-Pencil Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
sure! most welcome!! :D:D
Ilojleen Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009   Traditional Artist
Some good tips, congrats and thanks for sharing :D
ShoriGurr Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
(laughs) I just press REALLY hard and avoid blending like the plague.

It may be a rather limited opinion, but I feel that crisp details and contrast make the drawing, and that blending ruins EVERYthing.And I'm a stubborn one, 'cause by #2 pencil and computer paper do fine for most stuff.

It's on the big stuff that I start to desire just a slightly more finished feel (and less carpel tunnel), and for that you have given me a wondrous direction.

Thank you!
Doctor-Pencil Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hear you on the blending. I am learning not to blend every part of a drawing? I'm going to do a charcoal soon and maybe a rough sketch?
ShoriGurr Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
eek, charcoal. So very messy! Do you work much with it? I've played around with it a few times, but it's so hard to get the crisp details a normal pencil will give you, even though the finished product looks more balanced.
Doctor-Pencil Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ya I've never worked with charcoal, and would assume too that I would lack the ability to achieve details that I have come to enjoy using pencils, but who know? Maybe I do the eyes with pencil, and the rest with charcoal pencils (less mess)? :D
lee100188 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
cheers advice rick and i have experimented with this technique but i dont use bristol i use heavyweight paper which is still thick but as a slight texture. :)
SvdK92 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cool, I'll try that sometime
For black background I use Charcoal and then blend it with a blending stick, this works for me. I only did it once though...
And I'll have to find a way to get better quality paper...
humnabuzz Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2009
oh..and thanks for the tips..:) :blowkiss:
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